The sun was shining, now, sending rays of light that reflected off of Yoshimitsu's sleek beetle suit. He held onto Xiaoyu securely as the two put as much distance from themselves and the center of the city as they could, in hopes of outpacing the Tekken Force.
"It doesn't look like they're going to try to chase us down!" Xiaoyu shouted over the roaring sound of their flight through the air, "I think we would have seen them by now!"
"We shouldn't take our chances," replied Yoshimitsu as he continued to push forward, trying to fight off the fatigue that was beginning to rear its ugly head. His lack of sleep combined with this constant flying wasn't a good combination.
"What?!" asked Xiaoyu, unable to hear his low mechanized voice over the shrill wind.
"I said we shouldn't take our chances!" shouted Yoshimitsu. He sighed heavily as he began to slow down. He was growing too tired for this, and they seemed to finally be at a safe distance. They were on the outskirts of the city, nothing but a few telecommunications and insurance buildings scattered amongst the highways and trees. He hovered a bit until the two were gently lowered onto the ground, his wings snapping back into place.
Xiaoyu, happy to be on solid ground, hopped down onto her own two feet and quickly turned to face Yoshimitsu.
"Um… Thank you, Yoshimitsu. I was in a tight spot back there," she began, "But… I can't help but wonder… Why were you there? It'd be a total coincidence if you just happened to be strolling by, you know?"
Yoshimitsu thought for a moment. He should probably just keep an eye on her and then take her back to her residence once things settled down. Best not to get too involved.
"I was just looking into something. Nothing, really."
Yoshimitsu thought about his current problem. The last time he saw Kunimitsu, which had been the very beginning of last winter, the two had finally resolved what was between them and he had watched her disappear into the city in search of a new life. It was only too soon after that, though, that Yoshimitsu got word that a syndicate was after Kunimitsu. Apparently, she had racked up quite a bill in her pursuit of Yoshimitsu's life, and the syndicate her funded her was expecting payment. Kunimitsu had planned to pay them back easily after gaining control of the Manji Clan, but she obviously couldn't do that now. Yoshimitsu was determined to find out about this syndicate and help his old friend. They had come too far for her life to be ended by petty thugs. Remembering Xiaoyu, he continued, "You're lucky I happened to spot you, but please don't mention it anymore, Miss Ling."
"Oh, you can call me Xiao," she chuckled, "No one ever calls me Miss Ling." She then began to straighten out her jacket, contemplating whether she should take Yoshimitsu's answer for what it was and just drop it there. No doubt her curiosity was pushing her to continue to probe the subject.
"Very well, Miss Xiaoyu," replied Yoshimitsu, not about to get too buddy-buddy with the younger fighter, "I think it best that we wait it out a bit and then I'll return you back to your home."
"I have an apartment close by my school, the Mishima university," informed Xiaoyu, who then began to explain more about her life.
'The Mishima university?' thought Yoshimitsu, 'Perhaps that would prove to be useful later on…'
"… and the zoo is close by, so it's only a short bus ride to my part-time job. I'm a panda caretaker, you know. It's important to help preserve…"
'Yes, it can't hold a candle to the resources of the Mishima headquarters itself, but it should do fine for gathering more information.' Yoshimitsu crossed his arms as he thought it over some more.
"… the noise pollution isn't a problem, either, and the neighborhood is pretty clean. What about where you live?" asked Xiaoyu, testing the waters a bit. She wanted to show him that she wasn't intimidated by his demeanor or reputation.
"…" Yoshimitsu continued in deep thought.
"Umm, excuse me, Yoshimitsu?" Xiaoyu took a closer look, finding it difficult to read him without being able to see his face. As she gazed at him, she discovered small characteristics she hadn't seen before. She could see the gold-colored metal that lined the jaw bone of his skeletal mask, and she could see the black skin-tight suit that came up to his neck, leaving just enough so that she could catch a glimpse of human skin- his throat and the corners of his jaw bone, right below his ears.
He looked over at her then, seeming to come to life.
"Oh, pardon me, I was just thinking… Before we part ways, once I take you back to your apartment that is, would you mind…? Oh, never mind." Doubt poked him like an imp, "It wouldn't interest you, really."
"Well, give it a try," encouraged Xiaoyu, her interest piqued by the idea of being able to show her gratitude by helping him in some way, as long as it was reasonable, of course.
"Well, I've been trying to help someone as well. An old friend. She's in danger, and I need to find out more about the people who are after her."
'This sounds heavy,' thought Xiaoyu, not entirely sure if she wanted to get mixed up into something like this. As if meddling with the Mishima family wasn't enough.
"I understand if you decline. I could very well break into Mishima headquarters, but that won't be easy for a while now, after what just happened."
"Well…" Xiaoyu couldn't help but admit to the fact that this was kind of fun. The notorious Yoshimitsu was asking for her help, and so she felt the urge to drag this lifetime opportunity out a little, "Maybe…" Yoshimitsu could see what she was doing and he furrowed his eyebrows under his mask.
"It really isn't something you even need to consider, actually," he stated, "It would just be more convenient for me, but I can manage without it." He then turned and took a step as if he was going somewhere, partly to see her reaction and partly to prepare to take her back into the city.
"Wait!" spurt out Xiaoyu, "The day after tomorrow is our day off! That would be the perfect time to get in there when no one's around and use the computer database." Internally, she felt the sting of defeat, her fun being brought to a halt by this strange man.
"Fantastic," replied Yoshimitsu, as his wings opened once again, "It may be a bit early, but I think it'll be fine for us to head back now. The trip back with take a little longer, anyway."
"We're flying back?" asked Xiaoyu, not so eager to be back up into the open air. She casually grazed the forest ground with one of her sneakers, hoping to stall him a little.
"It is the fastest way, Miss Xiaoyu-"
"-and besides, you don't even have to put much effort into it. I'm the one doing all the flying." Just then, Yoshimitsu finally began to notice subtle changes about him. Almost a year ago, with the ordeal that he and the Manji Clan had gone through, he was left feeling stressed and rigid with the seriousness of the predicament. But now that things had worked out, and now that he was on this new mission of his, his soul felt lighter. His grave visage was replaced with a more refreshing, youthful disposition. He failed to consider, however, that it could be the influence of the new company he was keeping.
"Okay, okay," admitted Xiaoyu, feeling more and more comfortable with her mysterious companion, "Let's get going then. I'm starving!"
Wishing she hadn't have mentioned food, which awoke his hungry stomach, Yoshimitsu lifted Xiaoyu up once again and took off into the sky. After the lengthy trip, they neared the city and, with Xiaoyu pointing the way, they made it back to her apartment, which was nestled in a peaceful neighborhood full of college buildings and dormitories that were a little less appealing than the apartment building they now stood in front of. Of course, people in the area took notice to the strange sight, but the two were soon through the glass front door and into the elevator before anyone could bother them.
They stood there quietly, absent of even elevator music. Xiaoyu suddenly felt the strangeness of the situation as she glanced over at Yoshimitsu. He looked entirely out of place in the small elevator, with its beige interior and it's plain, carpeted floor.
Yoshimitsu hardly had time to notice, though, his mind racing with the tasks at hand. There was always so much on his mind, including the progress of the Manji Clan's philanthropic endeavors, the final stage of development of the Manji Clan Orbiting Base, his current search for answers, and, more pressing at the moment, how he planned on getting information from the Mishima University database.
The elevator chimed as they reached the 32nd floor. Xiaoyu led the way as they walked down the plain hallway, hoping that no one would feel the need to step outside. As she neared her door- Number 3256, Yoshimitsu noted- Xiaoyu pulled out her card key and, with a swipe, unlocked the door to her small home.
The interior was typical of a young woman her age, with plenty of electronic entertainment available in the small living room, including a stereo system and a TV. A counter top separated the living room from the small kitchen, which contained nothing outside of the ordinary cooking utensils and modest fridge.
Yoshimitsu felt it best to stand by the door, not wanting to intrude. He did look around a bit, however, noticing that although the apartment was tidy overall, there were the occasional magazines and snack wrappers strewn about.
"Don't mind the mess," began Xiaoyu, as she strode into the kitchen, opening up the fridge. "Please, make yourself at home. You must be thirsty after this morning. What would you like?" She reemerged from the fridge, holding small juice boxes and bottled water.
"I'm quite alright, thank you," replied Yoshimitsu, still standing at the door. The apartment, while not entirely tiny, felt small to him, even while wearing a sleeker suit, as opposed to his bulkier suits of armor. It was the bright sword that was cumbersome, really, and he wasn't sure what to do with it.
"Oh, come on, Yoshimitsu. You really don't need to worry. I'd say we're practically friends, now, after you saved me. And besides, I'm going to help you get your info, remember?" Xiaoyu walked into the living room and plopped down on the couch, turning on the TV.
'Friends, huh?' thought Yoshimitsu. He looked over at the TV screen with all its colors and sounds and was reminded of just how long it had been since he had the time for things like that.
'Well, why not?' he thought, as he walked forward and took a seat in the chair off to the side.
'Progress!' thought Xiaoyu, who was becoming more and more thrilled by the minute. She played with the idea of telling her friends in class tomorrow about her new friendship with Yoshimitsu. They knew she had participated in the previous tournament, but they probably wouldn't believe her if she told them about this.
As she sipped on the juice box, she looked over at Yoshimitsu and was a bit surprised. He had his foot resting on his other knee and he had his elbow propped up on the arm of the chair, supporting his chin as he watched the TV attentively. She couldn't really imagine someone like him being so interested in a silly game show.
"I didn't know you liked TV," she said, which cause Yoshimitsu to sit up a little and look over at her.
"Oh, well, yes, I like watching it occasionally. I used to watch TV and do other things like that more before I became so busy with our latest project-" Yoshimitsu caught himself there, abhorred by his own carelessness.
"Project? What kind of project?" The TV could wait. This was much more interesting now.
"I'm sorry, but… I'm not at liberty to talk about it." Yoshimitsu straightened up and, to occupy himself, he snatched up the juice box that Xiaoyu had left for him on the nearby side table and, after quickly fumbling with the straw, managed to slip it under his mask and began sipping the juice a little too intently. Xiaoyu chuckled at this.
"That's alright. You don't have to talk about it now, but I expect you to spill the beans sooner or later." Xiaoyu then decided now was a perfect time to take a chance and really badger him, "Say, how about we hang out downtown after getting the super-secret intel from the university?" Yoshimitsu, who had gone back to staring at the TV, nodded blankly.
"Sure." He then nearly choked on the juice at realizing yet another blunder.
"Great! It's a deal!" declared Xiaoyu, not giving him time to protest. Yoshimitsu stood quickly, determined to escape before he made another slip.
"Yes, well, thank you for the juice, Miss Xiaoyu. I better be on my way now. Try to stay out of trouble." He discarded the empty juice box into the waste bin on his way to the window, figuring it would be easier to exit there rather than risk being bothered by onlookers on his way down to the building's entrance. Xiaoyu, confused at first, stood up from her seat on the couch.
"Thanks again!" she blurted, just as Yoshimitsu slid opened the wide window, "So, I guess I'll see you the day after tomorrow. It'll be Friday, right? So, umm, maybe around sunset?" Yoshimitsu looked back at her and nodded.
"Until then," he bid farewell, his low voice sounding concrete and resolute. Then, in one leap, he was outside and off into the high noon sky.
Xiaoyu sat back down, going over everything in her mind.
'What have I done?' she asked herself, growing nervous at the awareness of her actions. There was nothing she could do about it now, she knew, and so she turned off the TV with a click of the remote and retired to her bedroom to prepare for the days ahead.
Well, I hope you enjoyed Chapter 2. I tried to make it nice a short, so it would be easier to read in one sitting. I'll get Chapter 3 up as soon as I can. Feel free to leave a comment!